Tuesday, November 28, 2000,
Chandigarh, India
C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Indications of cross-voting 
Kulwant Singh elected SAS Nagar MC chief
Tribune News Service

SAS NAGAR, Nov 27 — Mr Kulwant Singh was today elected president of SAS Nagar Municipal Council amidst tight police arrangements here today. Barring a walkout by a municipal councillor, Mr Amrik Singh Mohali, voting to the post of president, senior vice-president and vice-president went off peacefully.

Because of the violence which took place during the last meeting on November 23, a number of policemen had been positioned behind some of the councillors, who had allegedly started the scuffle earlier. This time, mediapersons were also allowed to cover the inhouse poll. Mr Kulwant polled 20 of the total 27 votes, including that of the Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA) from Kharar, Ms Daljeet Kaur. Another contender for the post, Mr Sukhdev Singh Patwari, received seven votes. For the post of the senior vice-president and vice-president, Ms Indu Sehgal and Mr Manjit Singh polled 16 and 11 votes, respectively — an indication of cross voting during the process.

Soon after the meeting started in a packed hall of the civic body office in Phase 7 here, Mr Amrik Singh Mohali stood from his seat and walked out claiming that the process to elect the president was being held in an undemocratic manner and police should not have been allowed inside the voting hall. Mr S.S. Sidhu, observer appointed by the government, Mr Puneet Kansal, Court Commissioner; Mr Jaipal Singh, Convener of the meeting; Mr A.S. Bajwa, Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) and Executive Officer, Mr K.S. Brar were also present.

Councillors were allowed to vote for the posts of the civic body ward wise. During the polling, Mr Sukhdev Singh Patwari, objected to his title ‘ patwari’ being omitted in the ballot paper being given to the councillors, and demanded that the election be rescheduled. “ The councillors had been elected to power for carrying out development work in their respective wards, but money has changed hands for buying certain councillors. This was shameful for the democracy and should be investigated”, he said, adding that an attempt to burn the car of Mr Manjeet Singh was not being probed by the police allegedly at the behest of the government.

Rejecting the demand of Mr Patwari for rescheduling the meeting, Mr Jaipal Singh said, “ Since it was an inhouse election, every councillor was aware of his name”. The name of Mr Kulwant for the post of President had been proposed by Ms Daljeet Kaur,a councillor from Ward No. 1 and Mr N.K. Marwaha, a councillor from ward No. 23. The name of Ms Indu Sehgal for the post of senior vice-president had been proposed by Mr Kulwant and Mr Phool Raj. The name of Mr Manjeet Singh had been proposed by Mr Patwari and Mr Sham Bansal.

Soon after the convener announced the results supporters of Kulwant group, who had been restrained by the police, rushed to congratulate him. Mr Kulwant said he would take along all councillors, irrespective of their alliances. Sanitation would be his area of priority.

Later talking to mediapersons, Mr G.S. Grewal, Deputy Commissioner of Ropar, who to supervised the arrangements, expressed satisfaction over the peaceful holding of the meeting. He said police had been posted inside the hall so as to ensure peaceful elections as directed by the Punjab and Haryana High Court.”

Regarding the issue of media persons not being allowed inside the hall last time, he said it was due to some confusion which had been sorted out. On being asked about overspending on development works of the civic body by officials, he said he would probe in to the matter.

The strategies of various alliances which worked to elect the president of the SAS Nagar civic body was revealed today. Initially, the group led by Mr Kulwant had claimed around 17 of the total 27 votes. But today he got 20 votes — a clear indication of cross-voting by supporters of both Kulwant and Patwari groups.

Since the day of the elections of the civic body in late August to the day of electing president, a car of a councillor had been burnt and three councillors of the Patwari group had been booked for tearing off ballot papers during the last meeting. Political parties, which fought the Sunam elections against the SAD (Badal) joined hands with the latter to elect the president of the civic body.


Notice served to unauthorised canteen owners at District Courts complex
By Kiran Deep

CHANDIGARH, Nov 27 — Following High Court directions, kiosks and canteens within the premises of the UT District Courts complex will be removed by the Estate Office. Taking to The Tribune, Subdivisional Magistrate (Central and Headquarters), Mr Prithi Singh, said that the Estate office had already issued a 15-day notice to their owners to remove these canteens after the directions had been issued by the High Court.

Punjab and Haryana High Court had earlier directed the UT Deputy Commissioner and Estate Officer to take action upto May 4, 2000, on a public interest litigation filed by a local journalist. However, no action had been taken within the six months period.

A PIL was filed again on November 9, against the kiosks when the administration failed to remove them. The petitioner had stated in the PIL that three unauthorised kiosks were situated near the lone public entrance in the District Courts complex and unauthorised canteens were being run from these kiosks. The petitioner alleged that the canteens were using kundi connections for electricity. Items such as fish and fast food, snacks, tea, coffee and juice were being sold from these canteens.

Each kiosk had grabbed considerable public place in the front and put up five to six tables and chairs for their customers. Insanitary conditions and filthy water scattered around the entrance to the District Courts complex inconvenienced people visiting the complex, according to the PIL.

The quality of the food served in these canteens was poor. There was no provision of drain or tank for disposal of effluents and smoke from a big tandoor found its way to all parts of the complex, it was stated. Threat of bursting of LPG cylinders used by canteen contractors loomed large for people who visited the court complex, the petitioner said.

He further alleged that undertrials, who were put in make-shift shacks adjacent to three such canteens too, had to suffer.

It was also stated that there were authorised canteens on each floor of the lawyers’ chambers in the premises where the canteen contractors had been paying up to Rs 7,000 per month as rent. Due to the cropping up of the three unauthorised canteens, the former had closed shop as their income had been substantially affected.

Since they had stopped paying to the administration it was a loss to the public exchequer. In the District Courts complex in Sector 17, there was a Red Cross-managed canteen, which was paying a rent of more than a lakh to the Red Cross society, whereas the three canteens were not only paying anything to the administration, but were also hazardous and creating nuisance for the public. 


PGI, PEC, PU to have own water treatment plants
By Poonam Batth
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Nov 27 — With a view to check the use of drinking water for irrigational purposes, Municipal Corporation Chandigarh ( MCC) has asked certain large institutions in the city to install captive sewage treatment plants of suitable capacity in their campuses. This will enable them to utilise a part of the treated sewerage water for meeting their irrigational requirements at a lesser cost.

A letter in this regard has been sent by the MC Commissioner, Mr M.P. Singh to heads of as many as 15 institutions, who are major consumers of water both for domestic as well as irrigational purposes. These include the PGI, Panjab University, Punjab Engineering College (PEC), CSIO, Pfizer, Ordinance cable factory, Kandhari bottling plant, a couple of colleges, hotels, government hospitals, housing boards and cooperative housing societies.

The Commissioner has pointed out in the letter that “there has been tremendous pressure on drinking water supply in recent years on account of increasing population and non-addition of further drinking water capacity to the supply system’’. To meet the widening gap in demand and supply, the Corporation, instead of looking for ways to augment water supply has decided to conserve drinking water by making best possible use of tertiary water from sewage treatment plants. The Union government also, at the time of approving the fourth phase of water supply scheme, had directed that sewerage water should be treated properly for use.

It further mentions that on account of the location of the existing sewage treatment plant in Sector 66 of Mohali, adequate quantity of treated water has not been supplied to different institutions for meeting their water requirements of irrigating lawn/gardens and open spaces in their campus. As a result, many of these institutions are using drinking water for irrigation purposes, which needs to be cut down.

A senior official disclosed that 40 million gallons (mgd) of sewerage per day is being currently treated at the plant, including 10 mgd which is being treated upto tertiary level and the same is being recycled back only to Golf club, leisure valley and certain other parks in the northern sectors, beyond Madhya Marg for irrigational purposes . The independent arrangements for treatment of sewerage will also reduce the existing pressure on the existing plant. Currently, 45 mgd of sewerage is being discharged. The increase in demand for water supply also results in the increased demand for its disposal as 80 per cent of water used goes for sewerage disposal, which only means extra expenditure.

Mr M.P. Singh, when contacted said that the setting up of captive sewerage treatment plants by these institutes would help in conserving drinking water, as using sewage water for irrigational purposes would make more water available for drinking purposes. This would also save money and energy consumed in laying lengthy pipes to take the sewer of the city to the plant situated far away and bringing the treated water back for irrigation. The pumping cost will also be reduced.

He disclosed that M/s Thermax India Limited had, a few days back in their presentation before the Corporation officials, highlighted the project of development of appropriate plants and its advantages. The Pune based company informed that the system is working satisfactorily in Pune and requires little space. Mr Parkash Bhambani, Managing Director of Nitasha Envirotech, informed that the new technology based on Fluidised Aerobic Bio (FAB) reactors treats sewer to a refined degree with the result that the treated water is without any foul smell and more suitable for irrigation purposes. He further maintained that the plant was compact and saved the costs on land (the requirement for which is 1/10th of that required for conventional purposes).

The institutes can install any size of the plant (0.25 mld to 1 mld) depending upon their requirement. The MC is also planning to install 22 million litre plant at a cost of Rs 6 crore, for the disposal of sewerage water and its treatment for Mani Majra area, towards Raipur Kalan, where they have already acquired land. A seminar is also being organised shortly to educate representatives of these institutes as well as the general public about the benefits of installing internal sewage treatment plants. It is user-friendly and does not require much maintenance cost.Back


3 bank employees responsible for lending 11 crore to Punwire: report
By Amarjit Thind
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Nov 27 — As many as three officials of the Chandigarh State Cooperative Bank Limited, Sector 22, have reportedly been held “responsible” following an enquiry for ‘’wrongly investing’’ Rs 11 crore in Punwire, which was closed down some months ago.

Sources reveal that action has been recommended against three officers — Malkit Singh, Manager; Joga Singh, Deputy Manager and Satpal Singh, for the lapse, which has had an adverse impact on the image of the bank. While Malkit Singh is presently posted at the head office in Sector 22, Joga Singh is the branch manager at Maloya village. Surprisingly, Satpal is still in the investment section of the bank.

Action against the then Managing Director of the bank, Jagtar Singh and the GM, Venod K. Sharma, for “allowing” the investment, is yet to be initiated. The substantial sum was invested as unsecured loans and the deal between the bank and Punwire was suspiciously completed within a single day, almost three years ago, sources have indicated.

Such was the confidence of the officers, that they threw all norms to the winds and even bypassed the mandatory permission from the Registrar Cooperative Societies (RCS), who is also the Deputy Commissioner, before carrying out such an important investment.

Under normal circumstances’ any bank lending money at this scale, takes collateral securities in the form of immovable properties from the borrower in lieu of the loan. In the case of a cooperative bank, the board of directors was required to clear the loan.

However, the employees did not take any permission from the board and went ahead for investing the amounts, listing incredibly high returns.

Sources added that this was done despite the fact that word about the “poor financial status” of Punwire was already doing the rounds of business circles in the region. By early 1998, Punwire was already on a downswing on the stock market and the promised return on investments could not have materialised. Although indications of the money going down the drain were evident, nothing was done to stop it.

Alarm bells rang only after the first installment was delayed. An enquiry into the matter was entrusted to Mr Vivek Attrey, Director, Public Relations, who forwarded his report to the RCS. The RCS is said to have reacted strongly and written a note to the GM, asking why the concerned employees had not been “suspended and surcharge proceeding initiated against them.?”

Sources point out that these persons were being reportedly shielded by the present GM, who had forwarded the file to the legal counsel of the bank. This has led to many raised eyebrows in bank circles, since referring the orders of the RCS to the legal counsel of the bank, is being termed as being “unprecedented and highly irregular.”

It has been alleged that efforts are afoot to protect the officers and that action is being deliberately delayed.

Administration officials are at their wits’ end about how to recover the money. Close to Rs 2 crore was returned by Punwire in instalments, but no payments were made after that and interest on the balance amount now takes the total even beyond Rs 11 crore, calculations reveal. Officers claim that “it is surely money gone down the drain.”

Already a case under the Negotiable Instruments Act has been registered against the Punwire top brass. But a sum like Rs 11 crore still cannot be recovered, as the said employees may not even get that kind of money as salaries during a lifetime of government service.

Interestingly, one of the “guilty” officials is no more working with the bank. On the other hand, the Chandigarh Administration has already written to the Punjab government about the money invested by the bank in Punwire, which is facing liquidation proceedings, following directions from the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

Already, some real estate of Punwire has been attached by the Regional Provident Fund Commissioner, as the company had failed to deposit EPF payments of employees. The land is valued at around Rs 3 crore. The Administration is likely to aim at the same formula of trying to get property of Punwire attached to recover the loan.


Estate Office parking spaces choked with vehicles
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Nov 27 — One of the biggest problems being faced by motorists in the city is the inadequate car parking in front of the Estate Office (also known as the Deputy Commissioner’s office) in Sector 17 and the adjoining parking in front of the 30 bays building, where a number of Haryana Government offices are housed. Things are going from bad to worse instead of improving.

The parking spaces are choked with cars forcing people to park their vehicles on the roadside, despite the fear of these being towed away by the traffic police. If one has to go to the DC’s office, parking is a problem Adding to the rush of vehicles are the visitors who come to meet the three Subdivisional Magistrates (SDMs), the Land Acquisition Officer (LAO) and the Assistant Estate Officer (AEO) .

And if these officials happen to be holding the court under their quasi judicial powers, the rush is all the more. The DC and the AEO have a court day once in a week to deal with property cases. The SDMs hold court daily as they have to deal with several cases of the Criminal Procedure Code (Cr P.C.). The vehicles used by the police and the visitors have to be cramped into the limited space.

The same space is used by visitors and officials destined for the Excise and Taxation department, the Pollution Department and also to various restaurants that are located nearby. And the same very space is put under strain by people coming to the Central State Library and by those who come to buy stamp paper or get papers attested. Minor arguments are common place as tempers run high. At times visitors are forced to park all along the roads leading to the DC’s office. This further congests the road making it difficult for pedestrians to walk. Traffic jams are common and the careless ones do not think twice before parking their four-wheelers behind other parked cars.

A similar situation prevails in the parking lot that is almost adjacent to the DC office. This is located right in front of the 30 bays building. The 30 bays building has several of Haryana Government offices, a busy office of the Chandigarh Administration besides a retail shop. Also closeby are banks, travel agents’ officers and restaurants where several cars come and go on a regular basis throughout the day. Adding to the commotion are visitors who come to the offices of the Punjab Government and some leading private companies located opposite the 30 bays building.

Now the situation is such that regular visitors prefer to park their vehicles in the open space next to the PSIDC building and walk all along the 30 bays building to the DC office located about 300 meters away. Efforts of the engineering department by broadening the road in front of Mehfil has helped matters partially. Probably more space needs to be created at the back of the 30 bays building where, at least, government vehicles can be parked.


Need for uniform police force
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Nov 27 — Emphasising the need to reduce the gap between senior and junior police officers, the Governor of Manipur, Mr Ved Marwah, while delivering the key note address at the inauguration of the XXXII All-India Police Science Congress, said the concept of having a uniform force had been vitiated.

Addressing the gathering of over 50 delegates from all over the country during the annual congress being hosted by the Chandigarh Police along with the BPRD, the Governor said: “The office of a Director General of Police and the place where a constable works in a police station are two different worlds. This has resulted in two different work cultures”.

The three-day congress, with the theme of “Innovative techniques in policing and police administration”, was attended by police officers of all ranks, besides social scientists, forensic experts and criminologists.

It was inaugurated by Lt.-Gen. (retd) JFR Jacob, Inspector General of Chandigarh Police Bhim Sain Bassi, along with DIG Ajay Kashyap and SSP Parag Jain, besides the two ASPs, Dr Sagar Preet Hooda and Mr H.G.S. Dhaliwal, were present during the congress.

Giving details, the Governor said senior and junior officers were so far apart that they appeared to be thinking and speaking two different languages.

This distortion, he added, was one of the main reasons behind the cutting-edge of the police administration turning a deaf ear to all instructions and guidelines given so frequently by the seniors. Professionalism, he stressed, should start from the level of a constable.

The constable, he asserted, must be given the impression that he was being cared for by the department. “A distinguished and unhappy constabulary is responsible for the development of a negative police sub-culture that looks upon external intervention with suspicious and distrust,” he asserted.

Regarding the need for accountability, the Governor said, it should be imposed at all levels through institutionalised mechanisms like inspection. He added that now-a-days, the supervisory officers had little time “to do justice to this essential part of their job”.

Stressing upon the need of cutting down on non-essential duties, he said, the deployment of unsanctioned duties should not be allowed except for a very temporary period. A periodical scrutiny of the deployment of force should be one of the main tasks of the supervisory officers.

Commenting upon the system of postings, he said “transfers and promotions should be linked with performance and suitability”. Institutional checks, he added, could be devised to neutralise external pressures to a large extent. “Known bad hats should be identified and kept under constant vigil. A system to punish the bad hats and reward the good performers should produce quick results”.

Earlier during the session, Lt.-Gen Jacob said the police and para-military forces, being increasingly deployed in anti-terrorist and counter-insurgency operations, were not being put through special individual and collective training prior to their being inducted.

Another area of concern, he said was drug trafficking. “Whilst police forces were involved in curbing the use of drugs at the street level, more efforts were required at the macro-level to eliminate the chain of bulk suppliers”.


‘Days of common sense policing over’
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Nov 27 — Claiming that the days of “mere common sense policing” are over, Governor of Manipur and former Commissioner of the Delhi police, Mr Ved Marwah, today emphasised the need for changing the policy on recruiting cops to combat cyber crime “in which millions are illegally transacted overnight”.

In an exclusive interview at Punjab Raj Bhavan here after the inauguration of the XXXII All-India Police Science Congress, Mr Marwah said “the need of the hour was to enroll policemen with the intellectual capacity to understand information technology, cops who could excel at understanding how cyber scams are being committed”.

Describing the training being imparted to officials as “inadequate”, he asserted, “the Police needs to change the process so as to produce specialists even at the level of constable”.

Skill in handling computerised gadgets, Mr Marwah said, was now required even for dispersing a crowd and in day-to-day activities. “For using sophisticated weapons, it is essential to get a hang of computers”, he added.

Suggesting measures for improving police functioning, Mr Marwah said: “All IPS officers should start at the thana level so that they could understand the practical problems that arise while functioning within the prescribed legal framework. They could, however, be given accelerated promotions”.

The period and the post at which the officers should work, he said, could be decided at a later stage. “The period should be long enough to give them sufficient exposure,” he insisted.

Terming as a “colonial hangover” the current policy of IPS officers occupying senior posts soon after passing out of the academy, Mr Marwah said “the concept of officers and men must go”.

Giving details, he asserted that “all policemen should be treated as equals. There should be no selective enforcement of policies”. In London, he added, “even a Metropolitan Magistrate started his career as a constable”.

Regarding the failure of police officials to comply with all directions issued from time to time by the Supreme Court of India, Mr Marwah said: “Cops today are left with very little time even to write case diaries due to the increasing work pressure. The solution lies in setting attainable goals”.

Commenting on the alleged nexus between cops and politicians, he said the “lack of accountability is to be blamed. The system is such that joining criminals is apparently more profitable than fighting them”.

To ward off any pressure being put on them by politicians, he said “cops should strictly work within the prescribed legal framework without succumbing to external pressures”.


Privatisation will hit rural consumers most,
 says bank staff leader

Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Nov 27 — Coming down heavily on the central government’s policy of privatisation of public sector banks, the All India State Bank of Patiala Employees Federation threatened to observe indefinite strike in case the bill relating to the above was passed. The federation also condemned the policy of introduction of Voluntary Retirement Scheme.

Nearly 2000 delegates attended the 18th conference of the federation held here today. Members discussed issues relating to non-performing assets, privatisation of public sector banks, VRS etc.

“VRS is a way of weakening trade unions in the banking industry. It would lead to contractual jobs in banks “, said Mr P. S. Sundreshan, advisor, State Sector Bank Employees Association. He also said that the government’s plea that banks were overstaffed was baseless since the number of transactions in the banks in the past five decades had increased more than 27 times, but the number of employees had not increased proportionately.

“Progress in rural areas, and of backward people is possible only if they are provided credit facilities at nominal rates, which is what public sector banks are doing. In case equity participation of private parties in these banks increases, profit will become the sole motive of these banks”, Mr Sundreshan said.

The conference reiterated its demands relating to publishing of the list of bank loan defaulters, depoliticising the banking system, declare wilful default of bank loans as criminal offence, abolition of secrecy clause, democratic and transparent decision making process and establishment of Statutory Banking Audit Commission on the lines of the CAG.

Bank employees also opposed the plan of the State Bank of India to merge associate banks in the SBI. The associate banks are State Bank of Patiala, State Bank of Hyderabad, State Bank of Mysore, State Bank of Bikaner and Jaipur, State Bank of Saurashtra, State Bank of Indore and State Bank of Travancore. The federation said that the associate banks were earning profits and they could not presumed to be weak so as to be merged with SBI. However, it was opined that merger of these banks would make associate banks strong and viable.

The conference also passed resolutions relating to Seventh Bipartite Settlement, Payment of Bonus Act and customer service .

The bank employees will march to the Parliament tomorrow and will observe a one-day strike immediately after the introduction of the bill.


780 census blocks in Panchkula
Tribune News Service

PANCHKULA, Nov 27 — The district-level census training programme got underway at the HSIDC hall here today, with master trainers among the first to be educated.

Addressing a press conference, the Director, Census, Haryana, Mr Sunil Gulati, and the Deputy Commissioner, Mr SK Monga, said for the smooth conduct of census, the district had been divided into 780 enumeration blocks. Training to enumerators and supervisors in three rounds with the help of electronic media will commence on December 11.

Ten master trainers, with two resource persons, will act at help centres for the enumerators and supervisors during the census period. The public can also contact them in case they are not enumerated.

The officials added that the work regarding census was distributed between two officers — Administrator, HUDA, incharge of Panchkula town, and the Deputy Commissioner, incharge of the rest of the district. However, establishments like ITBP, CRPF and the military area would be looked after by their own officers.

While the first phase of houselisting operation was completed in May this year, the actual population enumeration would be conducted from February 9 to 28 next year. Mr Gulati informed that a revisional round would be held from March 1 to 5. The population without houses would be enumerated on February 28.

Commenting on the authenticity of the enumeration process, Mr Gulati said the operation had a success rate 98 per cent, though the supervisors and trainers were being trained to achieve a higher percentage in the case.

Mr Monga asked the officers to execute their duties with dedication and appealed to the public to cooperate with the officials by providing correct information.Back



Army-INTACH workshops soon
By Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Nov 27 — To preserve the immense cultural heritage and objects of archaeological importance in its possession, the Army, in collaboration with the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) will be holding combined workshops in various cantonments all over the country.

The workshops will aim at listing and documentation of historical buildings in various cantonments and archaeological objects in the Army’s possession besides their conservation and preservation where required.

One such workshop is scheduled to be organised by Headquarters, Western Command, Chandimandir at Patiala next month. Sources in Army Headquarters’ Staff Duties Branch said the Command Headquarters have been directed to work out a schedule for holding such workshops in their respective theatres. They will be organised later this year or early next year. The Additional Director General, Staff Duties, Army HQs, is a member of the INTACH governing council and represents the Army.

Sources add that the Army had planned to organise such workshops last year, but Operation Vijay in the Kargil Sector put a spanner in the works.

According to sources, a pilot workshop was organised at the School of Artillery in Deolali about two months ago, where two historic buildings housing the school’s main office building and an NCO’s mess were declared as national heritage buildings.

The idea of collaborating with INTACH dates back to 1984, when Mr Rajiv Gandhi was Prime Minister. In the following two years several workshops were held. It picked up momentum again during the tenure of General K Sunderji as Chief of Army Staff, when a lot of related activities were organised.

In the 90s such activities fizzled out. “Though some kind of activity was always there, they were organised in spurts. This is now picking up and is expected to become a regular feature,” a source said.

The Army, specially some of its old units and establishments, is bestowed with immense cultural heritage in the form of historical buildings, ancient and priceless art objects, preserved animal skins, paintings, sculptures, manuscripts and war trophies, some of which have been collected from various parts of the world during campaigns.

While these objects of heritage will be maintained by the Army, technical support and advice will be rendered by INTACH. Sources say only those objects and buildings will be taken up which are not listed with the Archaeological Survey of India.

Sources estimate that there are about 15 buildings in the Western Command theatre which could feature in the forthcoming workshop. Amritsar, Patiala, Kapurthala and Ferozepur are among the places where these buildings are located.

INTACH also has a water management division, which is also collaborating with the Army in its respective sphere.


Istri Sabha plans march to Parliament on reservation issue
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Nov 27 — The Punjab Istri Sabha has decided to mobilise hundreds of women to participate in a march to Parliament on December 11, to press for discussion on and adoption of the Reservation Bill for Women in legislative assemblies and Parliament.

This was decided by the state council meeting of the sabha, held here today under the presidentship of Ms Oshima Raikhy. A delegation of women in every constituency would meet the MPs of the areas concerned to seek support for the Bill.

The council also decided to observe November 29 as Solidarity Day with the Palestinians’ right to peace and a homeland. The council also took serious note of delay in action in the Ruchika case and demanded filing of a case under Section 306 of the IPC for abetment of suicide against SPS Rathore.

The meeting was addressed by Ms Amarjeet Kaur, general secretary, National Federation of Indian Women. She deplored the policies of the Union and Punjab governments for pursuing the WTO dictated policies of privatisation and liberalisation, which were bringing disastrous effects on the lives of working masses in urban and rural areas.

Ms O Raikhy gave a report of her visit to Washington and New York as a participant of the women’s global march held on March 15 and 17 in front of the World Bank and UN office. She informed that the global mobilisation of women from 155 countries against poverty and violence reflected the mood of the vast majority of people the world over against the present phase of global economy.Back


Onset of winter delayed
By Sarbjit Singh
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Nov 27 — Though November is almost through, the expected change in the weather is not noticeable. Mornings and evenings are still pleasant and the usual chill associated with winter is missing. Though evenings have turned a bit cool, but yet one can move about without wearing woollens.

All this signifies a change in the weather pattern of this region? It is a fact that the onset of winter has been delayed. Even the available data of weather from the local Meteorological Department suggests the same. Global warming is a known phenomenon. And it seems this region is also not behind following the pattern.

The average temperature of this month till date was 13.2° Celsius, which is about 2 Celsius above the normal temperature. The minimum temperature recorded, so far, in this month is 9° Celsius which is also on the higher side compared to the temperature of the same period of the past 10 years, except 1994 and 1997. Only in 1994 and 1997, the minimum temperature of this month (till November 27) was slightly higher than 9° Celsius. The unusual phenomenon seen during November this year was recording of temperature 5 Celsius above normal on November 10 and November 23. On November 10, the minimum temperature recorded was 16° Celsius against the normal 11° Celsius and on November 23, it was 14.6° Celsius against the normal 9° Celsius.

Though with the change in the wind direction in the past two days, a fall in the night temperature has been recorded. On the night of November 26, it was 9.6° Celsius and last night it was 9.4° Celsius. But it is still above normal according to the local met office.

There can be several reasons for a change in the weather pattern of this region according to experts. A story published by The Tribune on the basis of data provided by the Punjab Agriculture University last year has clearly indicated that there was a constant rise in the night temperature in this region for the past two decades. It means that nights during winter have become less cooler in recent years compared to the 70s.

The change in the cropping pattern with a major thrust on paddy during Kharif period , use of pesticides and other chemicals, burning of paddy straw and several other reasons have been quoted by the PAU authorities for an increase in the minimum temperature at night.

Mr S.C. Bhan, Director of the local Meteorological Office, says most of the period during this month this year, the wind direction remained from south-west and south-east to north-west. Because of this reason, winter has been delayed. The onset of winter in this region is initiated by winds blowing from north-west to south-east. However, in the past few days, a change in the wind direction has been noticed and it has led to a fall in the temperature in the past two days to some extent. This trend is expected to continue in the coming days. Another reason for the nights remaining warmer is cloudy sky. There will be a fall in the night temperature as soon as the sky becomes clear, says Mr Bhan.

He says there was nothing new about the prevailing dry spell. Usually November remains dry. According to data available, only in 1997, there was significant rain in November. Otherwise, for the past one decade, November has by and large remained without rain.

One thing is clear that this region is also following the global warming pattern. The rise in the minimum night temperature in Punjab in the past 20 years is a clear indication towards it.


Hi-tech project to save old manuscripts
By Chitleen K Sethi
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Nov 26 — DAV College, Sector 10, Chandigarh, housing the historical Lal Chand Shodh Pustakalaya founded in Lahore, is working on a war footing to conserve a valuable collection of more than 8000 manuscripts and 9000 rare books into something more lasting and easily transferable than paper.

Not many researchers in the field of history or literature would know that the DAV College is home to some of the oldest manuscripts and rarest text books of vedic literature in their original form. Some of these have been written on palm leaf, others on paper and some others on birch bark.

The story behind the library’s shift from Lahore to India is as intriguing as the collection. The DAV Management Committee had in 1917, founded the Raibahadur Lal Chand Research Library to encourage research in Indology. During partition the manuscripts and the books were secretly brought by DAV workers in trucks, buses, military vans to India and later the whole collection was compiled in Sadhu Ashram Hoshiarpur and became a part of the Vishveshvaranand Vedic Research Institute. In 1996, this collection was shifted to Chandigarh.

The manuscripts include copies of the Vedas, Samhitas, Brahamanas, Upnishads, Dharamsutras, Puranas, Upuranas, Ayurveda and Smritis alongwith the rare books on subjects as varied as art, architecture, astronomy, astrology, mathematics, economics, ethics, lexicons, polity etc. The college is now cataloguing the complete collection of books and manuscripts and will be printing the catalogue for reference.

Also, the library is busy converting this ocean of rare knowledge into more accessible and retrievable form of CDs. Every leaf of the manuscript is scanned and transferred onto the computer where it is cleaned off marks, numbered and then printed if required or transferred into CDs for reference. Photostat copies of many of these rare manuscripts are also being made available by the research centre to all those who are involved in research of this variety. In fact the library gets most of its research scholars from abroad who are impressed with the state of these documents.

With the manuscripts and books in thousands, the college has already spent almost 28 lakh rupees on this monumental work of conservation of this valuable collection. The college has also written to the Government of India to help them in their effort but no positive response has been received by the college authorities. Says Dr KK Dhawan, honorary director of this library, “The Government wrote back asking if the DAV college was a registered body or not. We here at the library need more funds than what we can afford here at the level of the college and it will be a great service to the nation if some effort is shared in the preservation of its rich heritage.” 


KBC plays hard to get
By Binny Sharma

CHANDIGARH, Nov 27 — Spurred by the success of a youth from Mumbai who took home Rs 1 crore from Amitabh Bachchan’s “Kaun Banega Crorepati”, a number of enthusiasts in Chandigarh have set their sights on the big prize. But telephone lines seems to he the biggest hurdle in the way of their becoming crorepatis.

“Getting the number is like finding a needle in a haystack. In day time one never gets the number,” says Neeraj Wadhera of Sector 22, who has been trying hard to get in touch with the KBC set-up.

Aspirants feel that with the popularity of the programme at its peak, the organisers should increase the number of their telephone lines. There are only four telephone numbers at Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore and Calcutta for getting oneself registered for this game show.

“One should not try his or her luck from a STD or PCO booth, says Mr O.P. Batra who is employed with a bank. Even if you get the call, your phone will be disconnected because of the insufficient memory of the STD machine. It is a waste of time and money if you are trying to reach them through a PCO. You will be able to register yourself, he says.

The process of contacting the KBC team involves dialling nearly 17 digits which is a tedious job. Most of the machines used by the PCOs have a capacity to store up to 15 digits in their memory and most of the time it gets disconnected.

Mr Shrikant, a retired government employee, said, “The government should ask these TV channels to stop wasting people’s time and money on STD calls and invite entries through the Internet.

Mr Sanjeev Sharma of Sector 22 recalls, “I tried my luck with Star Plus for KBC and I was told that they would call me back on Nov 7 between 7 am and 7 pm for which I gave them four telephone numbers — three at my office and one at my residence. I waited the whole day but none called.”

According to Mr S.K. Chopra, Divisional Engineer of UT Telecom,” The maximum number of digits used for national calls is 11 and 14 for international calls.”

The popularity of this programme has prompted many sponsors to come up with interesting offers. Britannia biscuits have come up with scratching scheme on purchase of more than Rs 100. The lucky one who gets the logo of KBC can try for entry to the game by filling a form. Videocon also offers a similar scratching scheme.


Chandra Shekhar’s stress on free trade
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Nov 27 — Mr Chandra Shekhar, former Prime Minister, said here today that there should be no restriction on the trade among India, Pakistan, Nepal, China, Sri Lanka and Myanmar. He said all trade barriers among these countries should be lifted to enhance cooperation among South Asian countries.

The former Prime Minister said India should lay more stress on developing the basic infrastructure and not follow the path of the USA. It was a good development that the cooperation among various countries was growing at the international level and India should not lag behind in enhancing cooperation with its neighbourers.

Mr Chandra Shekhar, who stayed here overnight, met mediapersons at the residence of Akali leader Prem Singh Chandumajra today. He said there was a need to float a third front as both BJP and the Congress were following almost same policies.

SAS NAGAR: Mr Chandra Shekhar has said the third front was being strengthened in Punjab with the help of Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal (SHSAD). He was speaking at the house of an SHSAD leader, Prof Prem Singh Chandumajra, on way to Nahan. He said the alliance would exclude the BJP, Congress and their alliance partners.


Two escape unhurt in mishap
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Nov 27 — A man and his son had a miraculous escape when their car overturned after being hit from back-side by a Jeep near the Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, today.

The father, Mr Prem Chand Verma, and his son Charanjit escaped without even a scratch from the side window of the Maruti car CH-01-D 7106. They were returning home in Sector 45 after closing down their watch shop in Zirakpur. The accident occurred at about 9 p.m.

Soon after the mishap, the Jeep driver fled from the spot. Police officials towed away the car along with the Jeep. Senior police officials, when contacted, said an inquiry into the incident was on.


Woman dies of burns
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Nov 27 — Pushpa, a 21-year-old resident of Colony Number 4 died of burns here today. The incident happened just before noon and the victim was rushed to the General Hospital, Sector 16, where she was declared dead. The police regards it as an accidental death.


Two landlords arrested
From Our Correspondent

CHANDIGARH, Nov 27 — Two landlords and their respective tenants were arrested by the police as they have allegedly failed to inform the police about their antecedents. Daler Singh and his tenant, Ram Kumar, and Sardari Singh and his tenant, Subhas, were arrested under Section 188 of the IPC. They were arrested from Mani Majra.

Scooterist injured
Mr Manjit Singh, a resident of Sector 20, was injured when a car hit his scooter, here on Sunday. The victim was admitted to the Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32. A case under Sections 279 and 337 of the IPC has been registered against the driver of the car.

Liquor seized
Two persons were arrested by the police and 150 pouches of whisky were seized from their possession. Basheshar Singh of Karnal district was held with 100 pouches from the Sector 22 market, while Parkash, a resident of Janta Colony, Sector 25, was arrested from the cremation ground and 50 pouches were seized from his possession. Cases under Sections 61, 1 and 14 of the Excise Act has been registered against them.

Theft case
One battery, two computer speakers and Rs 2,500 were stolen from Plot No 321, Phase I, Industrial Area. Mr Anurag Gupta reported that the theft took place during the intervening night of November 25 and 26. A case under Sections 380 and 457 of the IPC has been registered.

Maruti stolen
Mr Vivek Goel reported that his Maruti car (CH-01-H-6311) was stolen from near Khukhrain Bhavan, Sector 35, here on Sunday. A case under Section 379 of the IPC has been registered.Back



Six booked in dowry case
From Our Correspondent

ZIRAKPUR, Nov 27 — Six residents of Bartana village have been booked by the Sohana police for allegedly seeking dowry. A case has been registered against them in the Zirakpur (Bhabhat) police post.

According to police sources, Ms Parvesh, a resident of Nandiali village, had alleged that her in-laws started harassing her for dowry just after three months from her marriage.

The police has booked Jagdish Kumar, husband of the complainant, Mastu Khan (father-in-law), Nakshatra Kaur (mother-in-law), Kuldeep Kaur and Baljit Kaur (sister-in-laws) and Lakhbir Singh (brother-in-law) under Sections 406 and 498-A of the IPC.

The complainant has alleged that her in-laws were demanding a scooter and Rs 1 lakh in cash in dowry from her. In case she failed to bring dowry they threatened to set her on fire and used to beat her often.

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